In the Brexit-addled not-very-United Kingdom, it should be no surprise that No10 Downing Street is up for sale.

"Well, they've flogged off everything else," you can hear Ena Sharples berating Albert Tatlock down at t'Rovers. "It's a wonder they're not hocking London Bridge too."
"Sorry, lass," says Albert, "they did that 40 year ago. It's now a tourist attraction in Arizona."

However, beleaguered Brits can rest easy — the No10 Downing Street in question is only a stone's throw from Whanganui — Downing St, Palmerston North. No10 is an unprepossessing industrial property with a workshop and yard.

Read more: Frank Greenall: Maseratis save the planet
Frank Greenall: Lest we forgot...
Frank Greenall: We could tap into Motunui


Locals say they are tired of trench-coated men with thick Russian accents asking why it doesn't look like it does on TV, and has the Chancellor of the Exchequer been by lately.
But here's where it gets spooky.

At London's Downing Street, along with the First Lord of the Treasury (current Prime Minister Theresa May) and spouse, the only other official resident is one Larry the Cat, described as Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office.

Whether or not Larry earns his keep is uncertain. It seems not to be a condition required of the property's two-legged residents. However, life is not all a bowl of cherries for Larry. Larry has a nemesis, with whom he occasionally crosses paws in a bit of the old biffo.

His nemesis is a fellow mouser who hangs out a few doors down Downing Street at the Foreign Office. A few years back Larry came off second best in a dust-up between the two, and needed vet treatment for a sore paw. And earlier this year, another high noon saw more fur flying and a cat collar ripped off. It's unclear if there was a winner on points.

But here's the rub: the name of Larry's feisty arch rival is — you guessed it — Palmerston! Hey, you can see how conspiracy theories start. From both home and abroad, portentous Palmerston connections to the original No10 are circling.

Now Palmerston North was named after the 3rd Viscount Palmerston, who was twice Britain's Prime Minister during the mid-19th century when British imperial power was paramount. He's the same chappie the Foreign Office saw fit to similarly honour in naming their own mouser.

No wonder the present Brit government is paranoid.

Here we have the hearth of British prime ministerial power — the august premises of No10 — being metaphorically assailed on two fronts. Firstly, its antipodean namesake address is up for grabs — a symbolic reflection, say some, of what's happened to the rest of the nation under Thatcherite Tories. Secondly, the Foreign Office moggie is beating up on the mouser ostensibly flying the flag for the current Prime Minister. The British lion is now struggling to win a catfight.


Eight years ago, the world was transfixed by the tentacles of an octopus called Paul, which could uncannily pick winners in the 2010 Football World Cup.

Hapless Brits now similarly cluster around digital devices waiting for the latest Larry vs Palmerston showdown. Will the Palmerstonian forces — with their echoes of old Foreign Office glory — prevail, and Britain successfully Brexit to reclaim full and fruitful sovereign status? Or shall the Larryites — championing the Remainers — thwart the ambitions of No10, and keep Britain huddled under the Euro umbrella? Recall that Theresa May was originally a Remainer. It seems that when she switched horses after the Brexit referendum, no one told Larry.

Between times, viewers will flick to Trade Me Property to follow the fortunes of No10 Downing St, Palmerston North. Is a sale — and doom — imminent, or will it be passed in and the kingdom saved? And which way would Paul the Prophet's paw point if he was an octopussy?